Liberty Power Looks to Add 21 Wind Turbines in Thumb’s Huron Township

Wind project developer, Liberty Power, proposes a project to add more turbines to its portfolio in the Upper Thumb. The hearing will review the application and take comments from the public.

Advertisements

A special public hearing will be held on December 10th by the Huron Township Planning Commission. The wind project developer, Liberty Power, proposes a project to add more turbines to its portfolio in the Upper Thumb. The hearing will review the application and take comments from the public.

Liberty Power is applying for a Special Approval Use Permit. They will present site plans for the Deerfield Wind II Energy Project. They propose up to 21 wind turbines, supporting access roads, an underground electrical collection cable network. It also includes a central Project substation in Bloomfield Township.

Details of the Upper Thumb’s Deerfield Wind Farm II

Map of the Proposed Deerfield Wind II Project – Liberty Power

A review of the application shows that Liberty Power has signed lease agreements from over 190 land parcel owners. The application also includes details on funding and decommissioning the wind farm at the end of its useful life.

The project will require approximately 200 construction workers. If approved, the project will start in late 2021 and complete by the end of 2022. The new wind farm will supply renewable energy to 100,000 homes.

Public Hearing Details for Liberty Power Project

By Image by Esa Niemelä from Pixabay

The public hearing will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 7:00 pm. It will be via remote access using the video and telephone conferencing application Zoom. This is due to the coronavirus pandemic and any applicable Epidemic Orders issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Details on how to join the meeting and links to the Special Use Permit documentation can be accessed online. See Notice of Public Hearing and Remote Access: Huron Township Planning Commission (December 10)

Liberty Power, a subsidiary of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (“APUC”), is a non-regulated independent power producer that owns or has an interest in a portfolio of North American contracted wind, solar, hydroelectric, and natural gas-powered generating facilities representing more than 1.5 GW of installed capacity. Liberty Power currently operates the 72 turbine Deerfield Wind Farm that overlaps the Huron, Bloomfield, and Dwight townships. The 150 MW Deerfield Wind Farm was completed in 2017.

Fun in Port Austin – Tip of the Thumb

Amazing things to do in Port Austin. The tip of Michigan’s Thumb.

Advertisements

Most states in our country have small towns tucked away from the hustle and bustle of state capitals and big cities.  In Michigan’s greater Detroit area, Port Austin fits the bill.  This harbor town is two hours away from Detroit in a straight drive up M-53 to the tip of the Thumb of Michigan.

The State Docks Are A Sailors Domain

Port Austin is Close to Metro Detroit But with A Northern Michigan Feel

This budding artist colony nestled between farms and pasture land to its south and Lake Huron’s expanse to its north. As a result of this unique position, the town offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset views over the big lake.  With a small year-round population of just over 600, it’s a summer destination with cottage owners and weekend tourists seek the cool breezes of Lake Huron. At the same time, the parents take the kids out to enjoy the numerous sandy beaches throughout the area.

Boaters and cruising sailors carefully motor past the rocks and the iconic Port Austin Lighthouse to utilize the strategic port to stock up with groceries or make repairs before heading over to Canada’s Georgian Bay or the pristine waters of the North Channel.


Port Austin and Grindstone City are a Budding Artist Colony

Find Treasures at the Port Austin Farmers Market

This historic and unique town embraces visitors and its community with activities that allow everyone to get out and fellowship with one another, forming lasting bonds.  There is an “Art in The Park” event every Labor Day weekend, and the White Church Gallery is minutes away in Grindstone City.  During the summer months, the town holds a weekly farmers market full of fresh veggies and produce accompanied by arts and crafts.  No need to ask for directions as it’s located downtown, one block from the harbor.  This laid-back event is much anticipated by the locals and serves as both a marketplace and social gathering.

The newest event to hit the town has been the Porchfest. Here famous and not-so-famous music groups perform folk, country, jazz, and even a little rock. Participants stroll from house to house and take in each entertainer. The event is held each June, and we will update our readers with dates as the event gets closer.

Port Austin Is Great For Sea Kayaking

Turnip Rock is A Kayakers Easy Paddle

The outdoor enthusiast will find no shortage of things do or places to explore in Huron County.  Turnip Rock is at the foremost of many beautiful sites.  Only accessible by water, the 5-hour kayak round trip is the best way to experience this natural treasure.  The 2 hours heading out seem shortened by the anticipation of seeing something so marvelous, and the 2-hour paddle back allows ample time to explore the rocky shore let the experience sink in. If you’re a fisherman, the Port Austin harbor is home to several charter boats that specialize in finding the numerous Lake Trout, tasty Walleye, and Steelhead Salmon that are out in the big lake.

For those who like to enjoy their site-seeing underwater, Port Austin has an entire underwater park full of shipwrecks from the 19th century.  Scuba divers and snorkelers can be seen here daily in the summer months.  On the other hand, if you feel the need to stay dry and hit the links, head just south of town to Bird Creek Golf Club and test your skills at the “best greens in the Thumb.” If putting is more your style, Port Austin has several classic mini-golf attractions for the kids and the popular Sandy Dunes Adventure Golf, which claims the only waterfall in the Thumb. Horseback riding is available for kids age 8 and up at the Knoblock Riding Stables, and the stable offers Pony rides for the little ones.

The Tip Of The Thumb As A Foodie Destination

The Bank is a Port Austin Landmark

The Upper Thumb offers some of the finest home-cooked, and Great Lakes fare in the region. With over twenty restaurants, grills and pubs, there is a choice for just about every taste. Outstanding establishments include the epicureanism of The Farm Restaurant, the classic dishes of The Bank 1884 Food and Spirits, and breakfast at the Lighthouse Café. For those who like a sense of history, venture to the reopened Garfield Inn. James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, did not build or own the landmark 1850’s Inn, but he was a rather frequent visitor. A few minutes from Port Austin in Grindstone City are the dueling ice cream shops of the Grindstone General Store and Rybak’s Ice Cream.

Enjoy A Wild Beach At The Site Of A Ghost Town

Map of the old Lumber Town of Port Crescent

If you like to enjoy the great outdoors, Port Crescent State Park is the perfect place.  Located on 640 acres with 3 miles of sugar sand beach, the park offers excellent scenery. Find the quiet by relaxing among the dunes and enjoy a good book.  The park is located on the site of an 1860’s lumber town that has long since faded away. Some remnants of the original town of Port Crescent are still seen in

Nearby Port Crescent State Park has a Huge Beach

the park such as the chimney base from the salt works and lumber mill. Much of the park literally resides on a ghost town. The park supports canoeing on the gentle Pinnebog River with rentals nearby. For those who want to venture on foot, there are seven miles of dunes and woods trails for hiking.  Other amenities include hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, and birding. Port Crescent State Park has been designated as one qualified to be listed as Dark Sky Preserve. With little light pollution from nearby metro areas, this park is a haven for astronomers each summer.

Port Austin is Family Friendly

Crafts, Flowers and Fresh Food at the Huge Outdoor Farmers Market

Port Austin is an affordable resort town with a budding artist colony in a family-friendly atmosphere.  Visitors can find numerous places to stay in. Lodging is available on the waterfront overlooking the famous Broken Rocks, a favorite of kayakers. Or check out the cozy knotty pine cabins in town and near the shops. Couples can also experience the romantic and classic touches of several Bed & Breakfasts in town. Camping is also available at several commercial, county, and at Port Crescent State Park campgrounds. Port Austin is a place to call home or to spend a long weekend.


8 Haunted and Spooky Sites to Visit in Michigan’s Thumb

There are many areas in Michigan that are thought to be haunted. Michigan’s Thumb region is considered to have high paranormal activity and folks call spooky.

Some sites you can visit. Some you can view from afar. We found eight sites that are creepy enough to check out if you dare.

Just don’t trespass on private property.

Advertisements

Michigan’s Upper Thumb is full of colorful history—from the boomtowns of the 1800s lumber era to the resorts and vacation homes of today. The area has long been acknowledged as an active paranormal region and has been the subject of books, film, and television. Here are the most active haunted Michigan Thumb sites in the area.

#1 Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse

Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse

This iconic lighthouse sat near the eastern tip of Michigan’s Thumb and was built in 1857. The light tower overlooks a twelve-foot limestone bluff, while the light itself is 93 feet above lake level and visible for a distance of 16 miles.

The lighthouse and nearby Port Hope Life Saving Station were almost destroyed in the massive 1881 fire swept across the thumb. The lighthouse keeper, Andrew Shaw, and the lifesaving station crew formed a bucket brigade and fought the fire by toting water from the lake. Their actions saved the lighthouse and its crew.

The light is an active aid to navigation, so climbing to the tower’s top is not allowed. However, for a nominal fee, tours are conducted during Memorial and Labor Day weekend. It’s the only time of year that the public is allowed to climb the tower. Pointe aux Barques light is one of the oldest continuously operating lights on the Great Lakes.

Paranormal Investigations at the Lighthouse

This site is known for paranormal activity, as tourists have reported seeing a mysterious form pull back curtains on the second story of the empty lighthouse. Some say this story goes back to the 1930s and that a former housekeeper haunts the main house.

In 2010, the South East Michigan Paranormal Society conducted an electronic analysis in the main house. The team recorded furniture moving, scraping, thuds, and giggling sounds in the empty house. After the study, the team leader of the investigators noted, “There is every reason to believe the lighthouse proper is haunted.”

A local radio station suggests that the lighthouse is haunted by the widow of the first lighthouse keeper who drowned on Lake Huron in 1849. It is said that the ghost of Catherine Shook, dressed in mourning in the style of the mid-1800s, has been seen walking along the cliff looking out on the lake for her long-lost husband.

Visiting the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse and Park

Side Entrance Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse

Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse and Park are located 10 miles east of Port Austin. The park features a large, full hookup campground, picnic areas, and a rock hound’s perfect rocky beach. The lighthouse museum is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day from noon to 4 pm.

#2 Pointe Aux Barques Lifesaving Station

Pointe Aux Barques Lifesaving Station

The area around Point Aux Barques is also known for its paranormal activity offshore. Reports by sailors coming into the mouth of Saginaw Bay near the Pointe Aux Barques Reef have told of seeing a white lifeboat with eight men rowing out to the lake.

As it turned out in April 1880, six men drowned when their surfboat overturned in high seas when going to the aid of the lumber scow J.H. Magruder.  in distress. The sole survivor, Captain Jerome Kiah, lived to tell the tale.  Kiah had to resign his position several months later due to his exposure to Lake Huron’s icy waters.

#3 The Old (Colony) Bay Port Cemetery

The Old Bay Port cemetery was established in 1863 on the extreme southern edge of the Ora Labora colony. It is the final resting place for the pioneers of a town that has disappeared from all the maps. The burial ground still exists and is the only remnant of this long-lost town, and there is no official record of who owns it. The Old Bay Port cemetery has 241 marked graves resting amongst wild trees and forests that beckon to take it over. The site is located at the end of Sand Road off M-25 in McKinley Township. Look for the large rock marking the entrance to the site.

The Mystery of the Old Colony Cemetery


In the 1860s, German immigrants started a religious colony called Ora Labora on Wild Fowl Bay’s shores. In its first year, 140 settlers established a hamlet in the wilderness. However, the colony was plagued by illness, and within months of their arrival, the community suffered its first death of a little girl.

There are over 300 graves in the Old Bay Port Cemetery. It was long thought that the graveyard was established by the German Methodist Colony called Ora Labora, which operated from 1861-1867. Yet no recorded graves from the Colony are found in the records of the cemetery. Michigan didn’t require documentation of death until 1867, which was the final year of the colony’s existence. Thus it’s now a mystery that many of the final resting places for the colony’s dead are in unmarked graves and elsewhere. The old cemetery and area around Bay Port are part of the haunted Michigan experience.

#4 Bay Port’s Sweet Dreams Inn

Sweetdreams Inn

Local businessman and lumber baron William Wallace built the mansion in 1890. The house’s site is near the once famous Bay Port hotel, and along with the stagecoach route Build in the Victorian style, the Inn has five guest rooms in which to stay and overlook the Lake Huron shore. Wallace was active in politics and owned several businesses in the Upper Thumb. He owned the Wallace Stone Quarry, which is located south of town and still in operation today.

The Inn is considered one of the most paranormally active homes in Michigan. Local legend states that his first wife, Elizabeth died in 1893 and passed away in the home. They’re also a bit of a mystery as to the final resting place of William Wallace. Despite the prominence of this individual, Wallace was not buried in Bay Port. He is buried in Bad Axe miles away. Thus it’s no coincidence that visitors say Wallace and his first wife still roam the inn with his heavy footsteps, as well as whispering in the ears of the guests. While they are considered friendly spirits, some visitors leave the inn in the middle of the night as Wallace’s ghost wanders the mansion telling the guests to leave.

The inn operated for several years as a B&B. It embraced its reputation as a haunted house, and visitors stayed with the hopes of such an experience. However, today the Sweet Dreams Inn is closed as a hotel.

#5 The Site of the Haunted Bay Port Hotel

Close to the Sweet Dreams is the site of the formerly luxurious and imposing Bay Port Hotel. In its day, the hotel was famous and modern. It was nestled among the beautiful trees on Saginaw Bay’s shore at Bay Port (1886-1907). This hotel was state of the art. Well planned and built of the finest materials having 117 heated rooms, six excellent cooks, hot and cold baths, bowling alleys, pool tables, an electric lighting system, Casino, and a barbershop.

About 1900, local lore states that a despondent man committed suicide in one of the lower rooms by slashing his own wrists and throat. Before he died,  the young man succeeds in making bloody handprints over the beautifully papered walls of his room. Because it was difficult to cover up the stains, this room was locked up and not used again.

Soon tales of voices and cold chills were told about the large imposing hotel. With the hotel failing, the richest man in town, W.H. Wallace, purchased it and sold the contents ‘by auction sale before tearing down the building in 1907. Today, all that remains are the front steps in front of an empty lot on Saginaw Bay’s shore. A lonely memorial marker stands as a testament to the former hotel. The waterfront lot was never built on again.

#6 Port Crescent Cemetery

In the late 1860s, the town of Port Crescent was a booming lumber town. The town was considered one of the largest on Saginaw Bay with two steam-powered sawmills, two salt plants, a barrel-making cooperage for shipping fish and salt, a gristmill, a wagon factory, a boot and shoe factory, a pump factory, a roller rink, two brewers, stores, two hotels, two blacksmith shops, a post office, a rail depot, and telegraph office. The town employed hundreds of area residents.

However, by the 1880s, the lumber era had peaked, and two large fires swept through the Upper Thumb, destroying millions of acres of timber. The town was doomed, and soon buildings were moved to other nearby towns. The remaining industry was the mining of fine silica sand used for glassmaking, but this too went out of business in the 1930s.

The Haunted Michigan Cemetery of Port Crescent

Today, the former town’s site is now comprised of the trails and campground of Michigan’s Port Crescent State Park. A small part of the chimney is still visible near the campground, and a steel girder bridge crosses the Pinnebog river for hikers. Nearby, the final bit of the town left is its cemetery. The final resting place for the ghost town residents is scattered among rolling, moss-covered dunes. It’s an eerie feeling to visit in the evening. It’s one of the most overlooked sites in our haunted Michigan collection.

Port Crescent cemetery is located about 1/2 mile east of M-25 on Port Crescent road in Hume Township, Huron County, Michigan. Access is gained by walking past a vehicle gate down a country lane about 100 yards to the cemetery’s northeast corner.

Graves Among the Ancient Sand Dunes of Port Crescent

Walking among the Port Crescent cemetery gravestones today is like walking back into the time of the 1870s. The lake’s dunes are still evident, and many of the grave markers are askew from the shifting sands of time. For the most part, the gravestones are well preserved and unmolested, and there have been no stories of hauntings near this area. But the area is truly spooky looking and considered one of the haunted Michigan sites you have to visit.

#7 The Bruce Mansion – Brown City

Bruce Mansion

Another haunted Michigan site is this large and imposing Victorian home was built in 1876. The three-story mansion has a coal bin and cistern in the cellar. The more striking feature is the home’s tower cupola, which has an ideal look for a spooky haunted house. Which it is.

The mystery of the home begins a few years after it was built. A huge fire in 1881 covered and destroyed entire towns across the thumb but left the house untouched. In the 1920s, John Walker bought the home. Local legend tells that Walker accidentally killed someone with his car and hid and buried the body on the property. Riddled with the guilt, he fell into despair. Soon his wife had left him, and the mansion was facing foreclosure. He hanged himself in the tower cupola; however, the official cause of death is not recorded.

The large house has been the focus of paranormal investigators and tourists. There have been two investigations that have denoted numerous apparitions. Amazingly, there have also been reports of a ghost cat running through the rooms and a growling dog in the cellar.

In the past, the owners offer tourists interested in seeing the mansion tours. However, with new owners, the tours have ceased. They are currently renovating the property and ask the admiring public not to trespass—view from afar. Bruce’s mansion remains a unique haunted Michigan site.

An Orb Flies by in the Bruce Mansion

Bruce Mansion

#8 The Abandoned Albert E. Sleeper Mansion in Bad Axe

Just west of the four corners of Bad Axe sits a large and imposing mansion. While no reports of it being haunted, it was creepy enough to be used as a haunted house. The Sleeper mansion was a funeral home for many years.

It was the home of a former Michigan governor. This incredible example of Greek Revival design. The Doric columns support a two-story portico in front of the two-and-a-half-story building. The house is square in plan with both a one and a two-story wing attached to the back. The 20th Governor of Michigan, Albert E. Sleeper, built this mansion, located on West Huron Avenue in Bad Axe. The house was built in 1917.

The mansion is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Today it sits abandoned and boarded up—a sad state for a historic grand old home.

Map of Paranormal Sites in Michigan’s Thumb

Like this Haunted Michigan Story? Save It on Pinterest



Caseville Harbor During A Michigan Fall

The Fall in Michigan always seems incredibly short. Sometimes boats are still in the water as November rolls in.

Will we the last one out of the water yet again? It is kind of lonely to be one of the last ones out of your slip in the Fall in Caseville harbor.

Advertisements

The Fall in Michigan always seems incredibly short. Sometimes boats are still in the water as November rolls in. Will we the last one out of the water? It is kind of lonely to be one of the last ones out of your slip in the Fall in Caseville harbor. However, Caseville Harbor is one of the great places to stop and visit, especially if your driving on a fall color tour along M-25.

Caseville Harbor During a Michigan Fall

Last year we were one of the diehards with ice beginning to form a weekend or two after we got our sailboat out and winterized for the season. This year with the schedule tight we decided to get on the hard at the end of September.

A lonely slip

It was tough. It symbolically ended the opportunity to get out on Saginaw Bay and we knew that the summer was really over.

Taking a Good Old Boat out for the season

Here is Caseville Harbor the last weekend in September 2014. Fall in Michigan is the most under-appreciated and utilized times of the year. School is back in session and everyone is back to work. It’s almost like New Years’.

These images are from five years ago. The old fish house from the early 1900s, that used to sit on the canal to unload fish from the Bay Port Fish Company when the lake was low has been torn down.

The Old Bay Port Fish Co. Ice-house in 2014

When Labor Day passes folks have a new mindset. Yet the days are typically warm well into mid-October and the low sun casts long shadows even in mid-day.

One last run on warm September day.

Everyone looks for the current fall colors in Michigan. Yet the best color in Michigan’s Thumb typically starts in mid-October.

Nets on Deck for Whitefish

Bay Port Fish Company typically gets there trap nets ready for one last run of whitefish.

Caseville Harbor in the Fall The Bay Port Fish Company Boat Argo

Whitefish come back close to shore and we see net buoys a few hundred yards from the beach.

HCYC

The sailors at the Huron County Yacht Club are days away from taking out their boats. Its a group effort and everyone participates stepping the masts and swinging the sailboats to their cradles for the winter.

Beach toys racked for the season

More Reading for Caseville Harbor in the Fall in Michigan’s Thumb

  • Michigan’s Thumb in Late Summer – My favorite time to be in Michigan’s Thumb. The Caseville Cheeseburger Festival has long since past. The Labor Day weekend has come and gone. Things are quieter. I can now cross M-25 over the beach in silence and without fear. What a great season.
  • Find Treasure at Port Austin Farm Market – A beautiful Saturday morning at the Port Austin Farmers Market. One of the largest farmers markets outside of Detroit. It’s pure fun. Great produce, unique crafts and artisans, and fun shopping among many vendors.
  • In 2012 Lake Levels Dropped, Will It Happen Again? – It’s great to step back and take a look at the recent past. Five years ago the entire Great Lakes was witness to low water levels not seen since 1964. Marina’s were dredging, boats were being damaged on shallow reefs not seen a generation, and lake shipping was facing hard times.
  • Haunted and Spooky Sites to Visit in Michigan’s Thumb – Michigan’s Upper Thumb is full of colorful history—from the boomtowns of the 1800s lumber era to the resorts and vacation homes of today. The area has long been acknowledged as an active paranormal region and has been the subject of books, film, and television.

Harbor Beach Lighthouse Restoration Efforts Completed

Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society has announced it has completed the refinishing of the exterior of the lighthouse tower. The year long project was completed by local businesses and residents. Tours will restart in June 2021.

Advertisements

The Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society has announced it has completed the refinishing of the exterior of the lighthouse tower, its final major capital restoration project. The work was done by Harbor Beach-based Al’s Tree Service, a specialty project painting company owned by Allen Brandow. He and critical employee Lee Elliott did all the work. It involved using a high gloss, epoxy-based white exterior coating with a projected minimum life of 30+ years and required building scaffolding around the entire structure. Tours this summer were closed, so the work could be done without interruption. Tours will restart in June 2021.

Harbor Beach Lighthouse – Courtesy Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society

The other major restoration project completed two years ago was the reconstruction of the original fog signal building. It is an exact duplicate of the original structure and used pre-finished powder coated roof and siding components with a 30+ year projected life. The Fog Signal Building houses a growing number of exhibits for tour participants. It shows the maritime history of Harbor Beach and the construction of the break wall and lighthouse that is still considered the largest freshwater harbor in the world.

Taking Charge of A Local Icon

The Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society was established when the Coast Guard announced it would no longer be maintaining the lighthouse. “We formed our Society as a response to a national plan by the Coast Guard to stop maintaining lighthouses as an active aid to navigation due to the rapid switch to onboard electronic navigation technology,” states Buzz Hoerr, Society Board Chair. ” There are 129 recognized lighthouses in Michigan, the largest number of any state, and there are now dedicated individuals, groups, and local government entities that have taken actual ownership of most of them to restore them and provide public access in the form of tours.”

Harbor Beach Lighthouse Restoration 2019- Courtesy Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society

Skip Kadar, Society President, noted, “This project has brought together a large group of area tradespeople. These are residents who enjoy being tour docents, private donors, and the Huron County Community Foundation to provide the financial support needed to completely restore the lighthouse.” “It has truly been a community volunteer effort, adding up to thousands of hours over several years to get to this point,” stated Pam Semp, Society gift shop manager and a longtime Board Member commented. She went on to say, “It makes all of us feel so proud of how our community has come together to restore our most important symbol. Come visit us next summer!”

Huron County Community Foundation Executive Director, Mackenzie Price Sunbland added, “HCCF was pleased to provide grant support for this project. Protecting our county’s history and further beautifying public spaces are two areas the Community Foundation has supported since our inception. We are proud to play a small role in the Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society’s efforts.”

Additional lighthouse information, including tour reservations, can be found at http://harborbeachlighthouse.org/ .

History Of The Largest Man-Made Harbor On The Great Lakes

Harbor Beach Harbor – Courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers

In 1871 shipping in the Great Lakes was nearing its height. Over 30,000 trips were made past the eastern Thumb shore. However, there were no harbors in which ships could take refuge during the fall storms that were and still are common across the region. The 80 miles between Port Huron and the mouth of Saginaw Bay is described as a long stony beach along a cliff-lined shore with boulders, and dangerous ledges. Ships steered a course 2 to 3 miles offshore, where they risked being fully exposed to the weather. In 1871 it was one of the busiest stretches lakes in the entire upper lakes.

Congress Funds the Harbor Beach Project

In 1871 Congress allocated a $1,000,000 of a harbor of refuge within the 150 miles between Port Huron and Thunder Bay at Alpena. A survey was commissioned in May of 1872 to test the lake bottoms holding power. The Lake Survey Steamer, Ada began bottom testing at Point aux Barques and headed south. For 30 miles, the steamer stopped every tenth of a mile and dropped an 820-pound anchor to test holding capacity. Not happy with the results, the Ada tested an additional twenty miles of shoreline and found that the area off of Sand Beach and Port Hope as potential sites.

The site of Sand Beach was chosen, not because it was any better than Port Hope but because it required 3,000 feet less break wall.

The area around Sand Beach in 1872 was pretty remote, even for the pioneering standards of the time. It had no merchants and no manufacturing except a few shingle makers. In 1873 the area became the site of one of the most ambitious harbor projects on the Great Lakes. This project was known as the “Harbor of Refuge at Sand Beach”. When it was completed, the town sprung up with a railroad station, and post office all supporting the harbor.

Largest Freshwater Port in the World

Harbor Beach has a rich history. In 1883 when the harbor was completed, it made Harbor Beach the largest freshwater port in the world. This one mile by three miles long port with 650 acres of anchorage was enclosed by three break walls with two entrances. One is the north and the other at the east. This enabled shipping protection in the 150-mile lake run after leaving Port Huron. The city later became home to major industries including a starch and power plant.

Harbor Beach Michigan is also home to a continuous Life-Saving Service / Coast Guard presence since 1881. A Life-Saving Service Station was established in Sand Beach then replaced in 1909. In 1935 a new Coast Guard Station was built offshore. Today the USCG is manned year-round by Coast Guard personnel.

End Of the Road In Michigan Podcast

6 Top Camping Sites Near Caseville Mi

We find and explore the top six campgrounds for camping near near Caseville Michigan in the Upper Thumb.

Advertisements

Caseville Michigan is the avowed, “fun town” in the Upper Thumb. It has four major festivals; one for each season. The Winter starts with Shanty Days, late Spring has country music and BBQ fun with Ribstock. The late summer has it’s massive Cheesburger in Caseville and the Fall is wrapped up with Pumkinfest. There is also mini-golf, a giant slide, ice-cream shops, gift stores, pubs, a brewery, and a distillery. There is certainly plenty to do. Those looking to camp out and enjoy the festivals, fine fishing and beaches are in luck, there are at over 650 campsites within 10 miles for Caseville Mi Camping.

Caseville County Park

Located in the banks of Lake Huron, on Saginaw Bay, this is one of the most active and fun parks in the area. You can drive and park right on the beach. It’s situated on 40 acres, the Caseville campground features 58 water & electrical locations and 172 full-hookup sites, many of these sites are suitable for camping the full summer season.

Caseville County Park Beach Volleyball

The park is located within walking distance from the little port city of shops and stores. This campground has large portions of it covered with a tree canopy. Many campers bring their boat along as launch ramps are available at the nearby marina, as is fishing off the Caseville Pier.

Caseville County Park Camp Sites – Courtesy Huron County Parks

The park also features pavilion rentals and offers a few prime beachfront sites. During the summer season, the park has an open-air theater with live entertainment during the Ribstock BBQ festival in June and the Caseville Cheeseburger festival in August. For those working remotely, the park has WiFi Internet service available in the campground area. This is the premier campground for Caseville Mi.

Beadle Bay Marina & Campground

Located out on Sand Point about 9 miles west, Beadle Bay is the third closest campground for Caseville Mi Camping. Its 31 campsites are nestled near the marina for a mix of boating and camping that is commonly seen in the Thumb area.

Camping in a marina is a unique location and many folks enjoy the experience. Beadle Bay Marina is a perennial participant in the Cheeseburger in Caseville Parade. Its also located near the Sand Point Nature Preserve, thus it is not uncommon to see deer walking through the camp.

Albert E. Sleeper State Park

At only five miles, Sleeper State Park is one of the nearest campgrounds near Caseville. Driving by the park, visitors immediately see the day-use picnic and beach area along the shoreline and the tree hidden 226 site campground across M-25. That is a small slice of the park. Sleeper State Park has over 700 acres of wetlands, an ancient dune forest, a half-mile of beautiful sandy beach, and natural dunes guarding the shore.

Sleeper State Park Safari Camping

In the back of the park in the forest and dunes is an extensive trail system for hiking, running, and mountain biking. In the winter you can cross country ski. The camp also offers cabins to rent and the opportunity to camp on the beach or in the secluded woods in a safari-style platform canvas tent. This upscale camping at Sleeper State Park is called glamping and is new to the Upper Thumb in 2020.

Oak Beach County Park

Oak Beach County Park Campground

Located almost exactly in between Caseville, (9.5 miles), and Port Austin. (9 miles) This park offers a great beach across M-25 from the campground. It has a total area of 46 acres with 55 full-service campsites. Pavillitons near the beach is available for rent, as are picnic tables and grills. The large area with ample parking is perfect for large parties and family reunions. There are playground areas and horseshoe pits too.

Oak Beach County Park Pavilion

Its large beach is noted to be groomed, sandy, and has a gentle shallow frontage that is perfect for those with little kids. The changing rooms/showers have been noted to be very clean. Campsites are large enough for our children to play in. The management and on-site hosts have been noted to be very helpful with tips on where to go and suggestions for restaurants and events. The park is located near the Huron County Nature Center with its famous Broadwalk trails.

Duggan Family Campground

Duggan’s Family Campground Entrance

Duggan’s is one of the largest private campgrounds in the Upper Thumb. However, this park is a “whole season” campground where folks park their RV and stay for the entire summer. There is no short term or transient camping. With 327 sites that can handle just about every size of camper or RV. Access to the beach is across M-25 at McGraw County Park. McGraw is a day-use beachfront park know for its fine sugar sand and quiet beach.

Duggan’s Family Campground Pool Area

Amenities include an on-site convenience store, activity center, playground, game toom, large heated pool, showers, and an on-site laundromat. They also offer complete pump-out services, firewood, and winter storage. The camp staff also arranges for many events and outings in the area. If you’re interested in setting up a permanent site for camping near Caseville Mi for your camper or RV stop by the camp office and ask to be placed on a waiting list.

Port Crescent State Park

At twelve miles from Caseville, Port Crescent State Park is a bit far but it’s one of the prettiest camps in the Thumb. Sporting an impressive three miles of beach coastline, its the largest swath of undeveloped coast in the western shore of the Thumb. The picturesque beach is bordered on one end by a 137 site campground. Many of the tree-shaded sites are on the edge of the beach or the old Pinnebog River.

Beach side Camping At Port Crescent State Park

Just in from the day-use beach, there is a sizable boardwalk that curves around some of the protected dunes. This allows exploration of hidden clearings for beach access and a chance to see wildlife. The beach nearest the campground is dog friendly.

Swimming Beach Area at Port Crescent State Park

For those not wanting to camp, Port Crescent State Park offers rustic cabins and upscale glamping geodesic domes for an outdoor experience. The family will never be bored as the park provides visitors ample chances for hiking, ADA opportunities for fishing, canoeing, hiking, and bird watching. This is an ideal park for year-round camping near Caseville Mi with trails for cross-country skiing and nearby hunting areas.

See State Park Campsite Availability for Camping Near Caseville Mi

New in 2020, the Michigan DNR now offers an online service for Port Crescent and Sleeper State Park reservations. This allows inquiring campers if space is available at their favorite campground park. This service makes it easier to find mid-week availability on short notice. You can see which locations have open spots immediately.